How do you recover from the kind of problems that include persistent distressing states of mind?

Talk for Health is the best, most accessible way of dealing with such problems that I have found in all my years of exploring the human condition. www.talkforhealth.co.uk. It is also free to all. But before an account of the solution, a bit more about the problems.

First, mental states are not a single issue and people have different experiences: some are anxious, some depressed, some are afraid to reveal their concerns, yet others might struggle even to name their difficulties. So we are not talking about one problem; there are many.

People recommend routes to resolve such issues – therapy, medication, diet, exercise, meditation, study, time management, having a hobby, having a job, having a holiday – and many others from listening to music to chanting. Often people have a favourite ‘cure’ which they endorse to the exclusion of others; commonly this is a route that they earn a living from or which worked particularly well for them.

However, the central issue, the thing that causes anxiety or depression to persist is often an inability or lack of opportunity to express truthfully what is going on for you. This chance to speak is best coupled with the availability of a listener on condition that such a listener receives your account non-judgmentally and without insisting on a diagnosis or route to ‘cure’ – although solutions may be useful at a time when we are ready to contemplate action.

The best results are gained when the expression of our issue is done to someone who validates our account, by listening empathically and non-judgmentally – with the occasional reminder – not to comment or judge but to let us know they are there and listening. This truthful talking to empathic listeners who respond appropriately is a fundamental step in the talk for health process.

In truthful talk, there are specific characteristics of self-expression that help, but we are not taught these features of therapeutic talk in our upbringing, although there are a group of well-known sayings that testify to common agreements that talking truthfully helps.

Questions remain: are there many forms of self-expression – arts or skills that can do the same job as expressing yourself truthfully? How do we know which route is best? How do we talk truthfully and to whom?

In answering the first question, there are alternative routes to mental well-being, usually involving a different kind of energy or absorption, but often lacking the cathartic element of truthful talking.

The catharsis particular to truthful talk carries with it the bonus of the potential for understanding. This is invaluable because once something is understood it becomes easier to resolve or stop it.

In answering the second question, how and to whom, the process called Talk For Health provides both coaching and practice in the arts of truthful speaking, non-judgmental listening and feedback.

In therapeutic expression both the quality of the speaking and the listening matter, but since these skills were missed out in our education for many of us, we may have to learn them from scratch when we set out on our therapeutic journey.

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As a psychologist, psychotherapist and research practitioner of 40 years, I've had the benefit of the experiences of more than 100,000 people around the world. They've talked about their daily lives, hopes, fears, ambitions and needs. These experiences have helped me to contribute to innovations from Beds in Business and the Fast Track for airlines to television drama and online communities. Specialties:Large groups, facilitation, application of psychological theories to commercial issues